Unsure about the differences between analog and digital audio mixers? In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each type of mixer to help you figure out which variety is best for you.
Quick Answer: Analog mixers are great for simple setups with minimal EQ and FX requirements. Digital mixers add additional layers of control over EQ, sub-mixes, processing, and FX, not to mention the ability to save your mixes for use another day.
We’ll be looking at the Yamaha MG16 analog mixer and Allen Heath QU16 digital mixer as they give a good general representation of the mixers in their category.
Mixing Levels & Sub-Mixes
Both consoles do really well at mixing levels without a lot of adjustments. Beyond that, the two types of mixers provide very different offerings.
|Analog Mixer||Digital Mixer|
|EQ controls||Basic knob adjustments (set frequencies)||Fully customizable|
|Sub-mixes||2 (rotary channel controls)||10+ (main fader controls)|
Analog Mixer Pros & Cons
- You can see everything that is going on at a glance
- Fewer tools and controls available to improve the sound at your event
Digital Mixer Pros
- Customizable EQ control lets you select the frequency ranges you want to adjust
This can be very useful for targeting specific frequencies that are causing feedback.
Digital Mixer Tools
Beyond EQ, digital mixers have other useful built-in tools.
Squashes the volume of any sound that surpasses a predefined level.
Sets a lower threshold for a microphone to become active. Great for multiple mics on drum kits to limit the spill from one drum to the mic of another.
In our opinion, the biggest benefit of using a digital mixer is the ability to save your mix for the next event.
If you’re working with a touring band or another type of event that repeatedly uses the same audio sources, saving your show cuts out a lot of the pre-show work and allows you to focus on fine-tuning for the specific venue. With an analog mixer, you’re starting from scratch every time.